Unreal Tournament 3
Thanks to climate-inappropriate ski goggles and an awkward-honky soul patch, UT3’s big gun, Reaper — 300-plus pounds of veiny man-meat and phallic wrist rockets — is less space marine than ’roid-raging Backstreet Boy. Even stupider than his wardrobe, though, is the one-player campaign, which tweaks the franchise’s standard bloodsport tourneys with misguided attempts to wedge a warfare storyline into what are essentially practice bot matches. Unreal Tournament is and always has been all about the multiplayer, though. Sadly, the long-awaited 360 port is missing the level editor that came with the PC and PS3 counterparts, but fans of the series might get distracted by all the shiny objects: new game modes, sweet graphics and physics, and lots of vehicles, including an m.f.’ing hoverboard (which may or may not have the power to cross water). But gamers unfamiliar with the finer points of online play (i.e., repeatedly getting your ass handed to you by out-of-work Java programmers) might have trouble sticking with the lame-o story mode long enough to learn.
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
This may turn out to be Activision’s last guitar-only rhythm game, so headlining the white-trash Rolling Stones seems like a strange choice. Frontman Steve Tyler’s silk-draped mic has always been the focus, while Joe Perry’s guit plays like bass in drag, thumping two or three repetitivie riff runs for the duration of most songs. Plus, some of the band’s greatest hits (“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” “Cryin,” etc.) are cheese-heavy ballads, better suited for drunken karaoke than heroic axwork, and were wisely left off the set list. Thus, most of GHA’s best moments are either deep album cuts obscure to all but the faithful (“Uncle Salty”) or entirely Aerosmith-free (a cover of “Personality Crisis” by the New York Dolls). Upper-tier tracks (“Love in an Elevator,” “Back in the Saddle”) manage to combine better noodling with casual-fan accessibility, though, so die-hard fans of either the band or the Guitar Hero franchise will get a little satisfaction.
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